A Day in Zurich, Switzerland

It's a well-kept secret that there is a rivalry between Bern (the capital of Switzerland) and Zurich (the largest city in Switzerland). Growing up in the outskirts of Bern, I was always biased towards the city named after bears and never spent much time exploring Zurich. After having spent a day exploring the city with family though, I might have to give it more credit. But first things first...

 

A Day in Zurich, Switzerland

 

Being right on the Limmat and Lake Zurich, the city is surrounded by water and offers beautiful views.

 

A Day in Zurich, Switzerland

 

A Day in Zurich, Switzerland

 

A Day in Zurich, Switzerland

 

We spent our day in Zurich wandering through the old town, admiring old fountains,...

 

A Day in Zurich, Switzerland

 

A Day in Zurich, Switzerland

 

A Day in Zurich, Switzerland

 

Shop My Look

 


 

 

... explaining old buildings to my niece (she may more likely have been fascinated by the birds) ...

 

A Day in Zurich, Switzerland

 

A Day in Zurich, Switzerland

 

... walked past one of the oldest hotels in Switzerland, Hotel Storchen (established in 1357), which has its own ferry terminal ...

 

A Day in Zurich, Switzerland - Storchen

 

A Day in Zurich, Switzerland

 

... and found ourselves in front of the Oro De Cacao store.  We couldn't resist the idea of some hot chocolate and had to check it out.

 

A Day in Zurich, Switzerland - Oro De Cacao

 

Oro De Cacao is a brand new Swiss chocolate producer - and it's so much more than that. I am a firm believer that Swiss chocolate is the best chocolate in the world (I'm also slightly biased, being Swiss and all). However, this store takes the chocolate experience to an entirely new level.

 

A Day in Zurich, Switzerland - Oro De Cacao

 

Dieter Meier revolutionized the chocolate production process by using cold extractions to break cocoa beans into cocoa powder, cocoa butter, and the parts that give chocolate its bitter taste. In the end, you're left with a very intense and flavourful piece of chocolate which is not bitter at all and is also not overly sweet.

 

A Day in Zurich, Switzerland - Oro De Cacao

 

A Day in Zurich, Switzerland - Oro De Cacao

 

Completely in awe with this new technology, I had to get a sample of every variation they offered!

 

A Day in Zurich, Switzerland - Oro De Cacao

 

And of course, we couldn't leave without trying their home-made hot chocolate which was beautifully rich. I also took some chocolate bars home and love to treat myself after a long day at work. Given the intensity of the chocolate flavor, you only really need a small piece to satisfy your cravings.

 

A Day in Zurich, Switzerland - Oro De Cacao

 

A Day in Zurich, Switzerland - Oro De Cacao

 

Thank you Oro De Cacao for having us and providing us with a wonderful chocolate experience!

 

We spent the rest of our day in Zurich raving about the chocolate we just tried, and enjoying the beautiful Christmas decorations everywhere.

 

A Day in Zurich, Switzerland

 

A Day in Zurich, Switzerland

 

A Day in Zurich, Switzerland

 

A Day in Zurich, Switzerland

 

Although we were only there for a day, Zurich impressed me with its old-town flair and international spirit. Have you been to Zurich? What did you like best about the city? Let us know in the comments below.

 

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, we will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

 

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Raining Like Waffles in Brussels

We arrived in Amsterdam feeling surprisingly well rested and were soon on the high-speed Thalys train from Amsterdam-Schipol to Brussels. Check out our trip itinerary here. We were greeted by rain, rain, and more rain. There is always a risk of poor weather when travelling in the offseason, and especially in Europe, March and April can be quite gray and rainy which would be the theme of the European leg of our trip. (You can read about the North American leg of our trip here and here.)

After what seemed to be a slight break in the weather, we set off to explore Brussels. We had only made it a few blocks though before the rains resumed and so we took up refuge in Galeries St. Hubert, which is a beautiful covered shopping arcade, perfect for us to wander through on a rainy day.

 

Raining Like Waffles in Brussels - The Next Trip

 

With this being very close to Easter, the Belgium chocolate houses were out to impress with their Easter displays!

 

Chocolate Display in Brussels - The Next Trip

 

Chocolate Display in Brussels - The Next Trip

 

Chocolate Display in Brussels - The Next Trip

 

Chocolate Display in Brussels - The Next Trip

 

Macarons Brussels - The Next Trip

 

We may have sampled one or two items, and couldn't resist stopping for a coffee at Le Pain Quotidien, which gets Bettina every time with their French countryside décor.

 

St. Hubert in Brussels - The Next Trip

 

Le Pain Quotidien in Brussels - The Next Trip

 

Naturally, we also had cravings/withdrawals for pain au chocolat that needed to be fulfilled!

 

Le Pain Quotidien in Brussels - The Next Trip

 

Le Pain Quotidien in Brussels - The Next Trip

 

We continued our tour of Brussels, and were in awe of the architecture at Grand Place, a huge city square surrounded in 14th century buildings. (Full disclosure: While we did take a lot of pictures on the first day it was cloudy and grey, so these pictures are all from when we returned late the next day!)

 

Grand Place Brussels - The Next Trip

 

European architecture is truly amazing. We could have stood there and admired the square and its beautiful buildings for hours.

 

Grand Place Brussels - The Next Trip

 

Grand Place Brussels - The Next Trip

 

Grand Place Brussels - The Next Trip

 

Exploring more of the city - we stumbled across lush parks and more impressive architecture.

 

Exploring Brussels - The Next Trip

 

Exploring Brussels - The Next Trip

 

Exploring Brussels - The Next Trip

 

Exploring Brussels - The Next Trip

 

And of course, we couldn't resist getting some waffles to keep us going.

 

Raining Like Waffles in Brussels - The Next Trip

 

Jetlag got the better of us in the early evening, and we headed back to the hotel, equipped with a bottle of red wine and some of Belgium's finest cheese and bread.

Bettina and I like to tour cities during day and night-time, as often times, a city completely transforms. We found Brussels to be very lively at night and just as picturesque as during the day time.

 

Grand Place Brussels at Night - The Next Trip

 

Grand Place Brussels at Night - The Next Trip

 

Grand Place Brussels at Night - The Next Trip

 

Grand Place Brussels at Night - The Next Trip

 

And the best part about touring Brussels at night is the mandatory and famous midnight snack - Belgian fries. After doing some research, Bettina found Fritland, which is everything you would think it is by its name - and so delicious!

 

Fritland in Brussels - The Next Trip

 

Of course we couldn't miss out on dessert which was Belgian chocolate samples at almost every chocolaterie. And there are quite a few as you could imagine.

 

Exploring Brussels - The Next Trip

 

On our last morning, Bettina (ever in search of interesting coffee shops) and I (ever in search of caffeine) enjoyed coffee with a view at the café at the musical instruments museum, the mim restaurant.

 

Exploring Brussels - The Next Trip

 

MIM Restaurant in Brussels - The Next Trip

 

You basically need to walk into the lobby of the museum and take a super old school elevator to get to the top floor of the building. We had read online before visiting that the service wasn’t great and that you should only go for the view. Let’s just say the view and the service lived up to their reputations.

 

MIM Restaurant in Brussels - The Next Trip

 

MIM Restaurant in Brussels - The Next Trip

 

MIM Restaurant in Brussels - The Next Trip

 

We enjoyed another leisurely stroll through the city, knowing we would leave the next day.

 

Exploring Brussels - The Next Trip

 

Bettina particularly loved this old carousel which we found in Brussels Park.

 

Exploring Brussels - The Next Trip

 

Shop Bettina's Look

 

Exploring Brussels - The Next Trip

 

Exploring Brussels - The Next Trip

 

Exploring Brussels - The Next Trip

 

And she couldn't resist the spring flowers groing everywhere.

 

Exploring Brussels - The Next Trip

 

Exploring Brussels - The Next Trip

 

Looking for some small-town Belgium charm, we left on a daytrip to Bruges the next day.


 

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